Capadocia Kebab, Anspachlaan 42, Brussels

Hello again, Döner Fans. Recently I was visited by friends from everyone’s favourite soon-to-be-former EU Member State, the UK. I do still maintain some contact with the motherland, tenuous though it may be. In any case, one does not simply visit Dr Döner without going for a kebab. And as such, following an evening of drinks and risqué badinage at a well-known Brussels beer bar, it fell to me to slake the meaty lusts of my visitors upon the greasy altar of vertical meat bi-product rotisserie. I give you: Capadocia Kebab!

Capadocia Kebab beckons you in with two strange and ghostly children.

On entering, I launched forth a cheery ‘iyi akşamlar’. It was not cheerily received. The orange-clad meat-warriors behind the counter did not seem enthused by our custom. Taking this snubbing of my Turkish on the chin, I ordered a dürüm for the higher-than-usual price of 5 Euros.

The orange-clad meat-warriors of Capadocia carve their livelihood from glistening cliffs of meat.

We colonised a group of tables and the food was brought to us. Pleasingly the meat-to-salad ratio in my dürüm was high, and the glistening brown matter worked well with the sauces and salad to satisfy my aching beer-fuelled hunger. It was one of the meatiest kebabs I’ve had in a while. Perhaps it was a little over-priced at 5 Euros, but then we were eating slap-bang in the centre of Brussels, and not in some quiet corner of Saint-Josse.

Capadocia's abundance of meat, and some tomatoes of various pleasing shapes.

While the staff at Capadocia showed little interest in our table, one of the orange-clad gents did spend a lot of time trying to chat up a nearby table of girls. I didn’t catch the specifics of the conversation, though I think he might have been trying to tell them about his motorbike. He was robustly unperturbed by the girls’ clear lack of interest. Indeed, being female appears to work to one’s advantage in Capadocia, as one of the ladies in our group managed to wangle a free can of Jupiler out of the serving staff, for reasons which were never quite made clear.

The meaty interior of my kebab, with the free can of Jupiler in the background.

All in all it was a solid, if not outstanding, performance from Capadocia Kebab. I wouldn’t go out of my way to visit it again, but nor would I be disappointed if I ended up back in its orange clutches in the future. So if you are cruising down Anspach Boulevard late one night, do pop in and sample the cuisine. And see if you can get a free can of lager out of the staff as well.

So long, Capadocia. May your neon lights forever glimmer on these murky Belgian streets.

Results

Service: 2/5 (very masculine)

Atmosphere: 3/5 (meh)

Price: 2/5 (5 Euros for a dürüm? Ich bitte Sie.)

Taste: 3/5 (exquisitely meaty, if that is what you like)

Photography by Dr. Döner

Snack Istanbul – Willemsstraat, Brussels

Hello Döner Fans. Yes it is confusing, I know – I have already reviewed a Snack Istanbul in Brussels. Imagine my surprise and delight when I found that there are two of them!

Who is this second pretender to the Snack Istanbul throne?

I don’t know if they are part of a chain. They are located barely 5 minutes apart from each other, so if they are not related then I wouldn’t be surprised if there is an intense rivalry going on. Perhaps it is for this reason that neither can be found on Google Maps. Perhaps there is a court case on-going.

It was last Thursday when I first chose to grace Snack Istanbul with my custom. There had been drinks at Place du Luxembourg (where one must go drinking on a Thursday night if one is to become a success) and in the aftermath of our libations a companion and I went off in search of sweaty meat. And we found it!

As I live in the district of Saint-Josse, I have felt it necessary to scan all available kebab shops in the area. I had clocked this second Snack Istanbul days before, and once I was certain that I wasn’t tripping, I vowed to visit it with alacrity. What better chance than in a post-drinking lust for döner?

And so, in the wet, dark Brussels night, we wove our way past the concrete and glass monoliths of the European Quarter, then on into the ramshackle sprawl of Saint-Josse. And before long, there! We espied the tell-tale neon glow that betrayed the presence of a kebab shop. Döner heaven was surely mere footsteps away!

The awesome interior of Snack Istanbul.

We entered. The shop was run by two jolly, grizzled men. Their counter was overflowing with fresh salad, even at this time of night, and it brimmed with other Turkish treats that I yearned to try. But no, every place must be judged by the same standards! And so I ordered a dürüm menu for 6 Euros. In the back of my mind was the thought that at Turkuaz the same meal would have been a Euro cheaper.

Just some of the veg on offer at Snack Istanbul. Try to ignore the red cabbage.

I can’t comment much on the intervening time between ordering and eating, because nothing really happened. I took what I thought were rather artsy shots of the interior of the kebab shop, which on later viewing turned out to be rubbish. There was a decent crowd eating at Snack Istanbul, though, which is always a good sign.

An artsy shot that made the cut. It's a window, but from the INside.

We took our dürüms back home and ate them there, surrounded by home comforts. And I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. After a disappointing experience at Brussels’ other Snack Istanbul, my hopes had not been high. But the kebab was actually very good. It was meaty, it was moist, it had good texture, and the sauces married it all together delightfully. It will be a welcome alternative if ever I find that Turkuaz has closed early. Well done, Snack Istanbul! I hope you win in your dispute with those charlatans on Leuvensesteenweg!

The kebab is consumed back in the Dr Döner man-cave, surrounded by detritus.

Results

Service: 4/5 (jolly)

Atmosphere: 4/5 (cosy)

Price: 3/5 (a Euro more expensive than Turkuaz)

Taste: 3/5 (quite nice)

Photography by Dr. Döner

Sultans of Kebap – Anspachlaan, Brussels

What’s in a name? Over the years I have seen kebab houses bearing names with varying degrees of creativity. ‘Mustafa’s Gemüsekebab’ or ‘Kaplan Döner’ are both clear enough. ‘Mısır çarşısı’ is more evocative of distant places and exotic flavours. ‘Snackwagen’ boasts an instant cool. ‘Lunchroom Etenstijd’ on the other hand is about as crap as you can get. (‘Lunch room Food time’, I mean really…)

The proprietors of one particular döner establishment on Anspachlaan in Brussels city centre clearly wanted something more. They knew that their greasy corner of the döner market was bigger, better, grander than most. They needed a name to convey the pomp, the majesty of their premises. A name that would elevate them head and shoulders above the mere impostors of the kebab industry, and mark them out as the true masters of the meat-log rotisserie. And, I’m sure you will agree, they found just the right one. Mesdames et messieurs, I give you the sublime, the magnificent Sultans of Kebap!

Sultans of Kebab seem to have awarded themselves a generous five stars.

To be honest, last Friday night, I didn’t even want a kebab. A companion and I were making our way home from a party. Neither of us was particularly hungry. But then across the street I saw that big red sign, bearing those three immortal words: ‘Sultans of Kebab’. Such a grand name leaves a lot to live up to. What palatial treats awaited us within? And I knew right there and then that I had to find out.

Members of the men-only Meat-Lovers Anonymous attend a late-night board meeting at the Sultans' residence.

My expectations were raised high when I entered and saw not one, but TWO glistening logs of meat rotating like music-box ballerinas against the grill. When I heard the staff talking to each other in Turkish, I imagined that I was onto a winner. There were four of them, burly and uniformed behind the counter, ready to take our order. However, it soon became clear that the old adage remains true: too many chefs do spoil the broth. The four men spent most of their time arguing, bumping into each other, and getting in each other’s way. The overall impression was not one of well-oiled efficiency. As a final straw, I saw that their salad options included a huge trough of red cabbage, which as we all know has no place in a decent kebab.

Because what doesn't look more appetising with blobs of shredded carrot dumped all over it?

Nonetheless, it was too late to turn back. Somehow the four of them conspired to make me a dürüm, which was then handed over. My dinner companion bought a portion of chicken nuggets, just to embarrass me. Things were about to get rowdy when one of the chefs realised I was photographing the interior of the palace. “Il prend des photos!” the cry went up. And it could have been the worse for Dr Döner, had the four of them not been unable to navigate their way out from behind the confines of the counter.

One of the four kebab-men of the apocalypse shaves another hunk of flab from the rotisserie of existence.

We ate our gains out on the street while walking home. Central Brussels is a strange place at 1:30am. It is mostly full of groups of drunken men roving the streets. It was not the most comfortable experience, especially since I was trying to stuff a dürüm into my face. The night was also bitterly cold. Which is why, I imagine, the staff at Sultans of Kebab had wrapped my dürüm up extra warmly. Whereas most kebab establishments will simply wrap their wares in paper, the four Sultans had gone the extra mile. My dürüm was draped in a two-tone cape of both paper and tinfoil, keeping it hot on the inside and cool enough to hold on the outside. Imagine! It still didn’t make up for the decidedly average nature of the kebab, though. I guzzled down the dürüm as fast as I could, for it was impeding my homeward journey. And then, with its remnant sauces strewn down the insides of some municipal bin, I set off through the testosterone-charged streets back to St-Josse. An eventful night, but an unremarkable kebab. Until next time, Döner Fans!

The caped crusader. A baton of meat, alone in the night.

Results

Service: 2/5 (resistant to being photographed)

Atmosphere: 3/5 (testosterone-charged)

Price: 3/5 (I don’t remember, but average)

Taste: 3/5 (meh)

Photography by Dr. Döner

Istanbul Plaza Halvemaansteeg

Bonjour, Döner Fans. Confusing as it seems, this blog post is brought to you from Amsterdam, not Brussels. Yes, last weekend I was back in the Dutch capital for both business and pleasure. I met some of my favourite people (plus a few extra), though the brevity of my trip meant that many old friends had to be left out. But I will be back again soon!

Anyway, a triumphal return without a kebab is like a morning without a dawn: barren. Many of you will know how I feel about Dutch kebabs. But on Saturday night on Rembrandt Square I was in for a pleasant surprise. A companion and I were squeezing our way through the heaving crowd of stoned tourists and drunk people in Halloween costumes, when my eyes were drawn to a gleaming sign. It said, in tasteful neon: “Istanbul Döner-Kebab Halal Food Shoarma-Falafel.” So all its focus-keywords were nicely covered.

The staff at Istanbul Plaza clearly let an SEO agency do their marketing.

Hypnotised by this feat of food-Tourette’s, I shakily drew forth my photography device and took a shot. And as I did so, a man who was leaning outside the shop immediately invited us in, his face aglow with welcoming delight. I had thought he was a customer happily digesting his food. But no, he was the welcome committee. I am always suspicious of shops and restaurants that employ someone to lure in passers-by. But we were hungry, so we went in anyway.

Under the neon glare, the craftsmen of Istanbul Plaza create their art.

The staff were clearly used to drunk tourists, and immediately tried to offer us everything on the menu, including a ‘crisp clean Heineken’ each. But I have tried Heineken before, so I said no. My dinner companion and I both ordered the Dürüm Döner, and they set about making it. As this was Amsterdam, there were only two sauce choices: samba and garlic. Salad was ‘alles erop’. There was something comforting in this bland predictability. If nothing else, it saved me having to order in French and embarrass myself.

A peek into the eye of the breaded sheath. With a manicured hand in the background.

The kebab was actually surprisingly good. I don’t know if it was just because I was very hungry, but something about it made it a lot tastier than the usual disappointing fare you tend to get in Amsterdam’s kebab joints. The meat was moist, the salad was fresh, the bread was nice, and the sauces were flavourful. As such, it is one of the few döner shops in Amsterdam that I can heartily recommend. Just try not to be talked into buying everything on the menu along with copious drinks, as the service did come across as slightly pushy.

I am pretty sure that the dürüm was meant to cost 4,95 EUR. However, when I handed over a 5 EUR note, there was no sign of my 5 cents change. I let it slide this time. I wished the proprietors ‘iyi akşamlar’ and we went back out into the Halloween-infested night. They called out ‘iyi akşamlar’ after us, despite probably not being Turks. But that is no doubt part of the mystery and delight at Istanbul Plaza.

The 4,95 EUR price on the menu is approximate.

Results

Service: 2/5 (geared towards people who are drunk and/or stoned)

Atmosphere: 3/5 (meh)

Price: 3/5 (normal for Amsterdam, but don’t expect to get your 5 cents change)

Taste: 4/5 (very tasty)

Photographs taken by Dr. Döner

Turkuaz Kebap – Rue des Deux Églises

Bonjour et bienvenue, Döner Fans. Why the French? Well, Dr Döner has relocated to Brussels! (Or Brussel or Bruxelles, depending on which Belgian community you belong to…) Life is nothing without its variety; change is what adds spice to the floury lahmacun of existence. And so, in pursuit of new meaty horizons, Dr Döner has left the picturesque environs of Amsterdam and settled down in the Brussels neighbourhood of Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, a mere drop-kick away from the European Institutions. And from this enviable vantage point I will be continuing my quest to force kebab policy up the agenda of the European Commission.

I have now been living here for almost two weeks, and the kebab-count is already high, Döner Fans. On moving to a new area, I find it advisable to go on a quick reconnoitre of the neighbourhood, to find out where the best kebabs are placed. So it was that while strolling down the Rue des Deux Églises, in the direction of Place Saint-Josse, I clocked a likely-looking establishment not far from the square. Döner Fans, I give you the great, the exceptional Turkuaz Kebap!

Turkuaz Kebap viewed from Tweekerkenstraat. Because all streets in Brussels have two names.

I was eager to pop my Brussels kebab cherry as early as possible. I had no wish to be asked “have you had a kebab in Brussels yet?” only to shake my head, blush, and say “no, not yet, I’m still working on it”. The social pressure to do so can be immense. It didn’t take long, though, before a night of fulsome Belgian beer led to that familiar kindling of the urges, and on walking home that evening I decided that yes, now was the time. Fleeing the cold, nocturnal Belgian streets, I strolled into Turkuaz, and was delighted to see a proper charcoal grill, a glistening meaty log of döner-rotisserie, and a display counter laden with köfte and other treasures. Affecting my best French, I ordered ‘un dürüm, s’il vous plait’, grabbed an ayran from the fridge, and settled down to wait.

Heavy breathing and pawing at the glass display table is normal.

The dürüm bread was first placed in the charcoal oven by one of the uniformed aficionados who manned the counter. One of them asked me which sauces I would like. I stumbled. My French no longer extended that far. I had been rumbled. Panicked, I said: ‘Chilli et…sarımsak!’ It was the Turkish word for garlic that fell out, and blew my cover. The uncertainty of my new surroundings had poked a hard finger through the wet tissue of my French, and connected with the solid bedrock of my faithful Turkish there below. From this point on, the Turkish staff of Turkuaz and I were firm friends. When it came to salad, I duly ordered ‘hepsi!’ And all seemed to be going swimmingly.

One word of warning, though. If you do visit Turkuaz and happen to go off in search of the lavatories, be warned that the ceiling on the staircase is very low. Dr Döner is no lumbering giant of a man (indeed, in Amsterdam I felt very much like a dwarf), but I managed to smack my head off the ceiling on the way down to the loos. Perhaps it was the Belgian beers. In any case, lesson learned. When I returned to the counter, my order was ready. I found also that the dürüm automatically came with a portion of Belgian frites covered in sauce. The novelty! I was also pleased to discover that in total one dürüm + one portion of frites + one ayran came to only 5 Euros. A bargain if ever I saw one, Döner Fans. Especially when you consider that one sad, soggy, disappointing döner in Amsterdam, whose sauces you have to apply yourself using one of their farting, sticky tubes, comes to 4,50 EUR all on its own. I took my meaty gains back to my penthouse apartment and consumed them there with gusto. And the verdict: delicious. The bread was fresh and had a tasty charcoal piquance, the meat was moist, and the sauces were flavourful. The salad consisted of shredded carrot, and something which was either shredded white cabbage or lettuce, which is not something I have seen before in a dürüm. In any case, it was very moist and added a satisfying counterpoint to the meat. Therefore, if you are ever in Saint-Josse, I urge you to try out Turkuaz Kebap. I am sure it will become a regular of mine!

Turkuaz kebab, with its garnish of shredded carrots and other mystery vegetables.

Results

Service: 4/5 (fast and friendly)

Atmosphere: 4/5 (bright and comfy)

Price: 4/5 (a good value deal!)

Taste: 5/5 (very nice)

Photographs taken by Dr. Döner

Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebab Mehringdamm

Hello, Döner Fans. Well, what a week it’s been! I am freshly returned from seven days of overindulgence in Berlin, and am feeling all the better for it. As you know, I have been to Berlin many times before. However, this time I decided to do something for the first time. One is never too old and jaded to try new things, Döner Fans! In all these years it has not escaped my attention that there is one döner shop in Berlin which is more famous than most. A fabled place, a mythical place… Its name is whispered from the breathy lips of one döner-lover to another. It has reached international acclaim, and tourists flock to its siren call, ready to be inducted into the circles of those kebab ‘connoisseurs’ who have deemed it the best döner in Berlin. As I am not one to blindly follow a trend, however, it is a place I have hitherto always avoided. And yet, with the inevitability of the daily rotation of Earth and Moon, it came to be that on Tuesday 30 August 2016, I queued up to order a kebab from none other than Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebab at Mehringdamm!

Mehringdamm: a kebab pilgrimage site at the junction of the U6 and U7.

I had of course heard the fearsome rumours about the queues of eager kebab-hopefuls that snaked away from Mustafa’s hallowed hut of meaty treats. And so I thought I’d delay my visit until about 3:45pm, to avoid the lunchtime rush. But when I alighted at Mehringdamm U-Bahn station, shock horror! The queue that I saw, upon scaling the steps up to street level, was every bit as formidable as I had been led to believe. Eyes bloodshot, feet shuffling, teeth clenched, fists convulsing, the line of hungry hipsters stretched out before me. Wordlessly I took my place at the back of the procession. Over the heads of the people in front of me, I could see the focal point of our attentions: there, rising above the dusty pavement, was the off-white wall of Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebab, in which three men slaved tirelessly. They slathered sauce, they sliced up meat, they scooped up salad. It was like watching ballet dancers performing a well-rehearsed routine. I wondered, suddenly, if one of them was Mustafa himself. But no, impossible. Surely that great man had no need any more to dirty his hands with meat and sauces? Surely he sat in some vast office overlooking Berlin, clad in a sharp suit and smoking a fat cigar, and laughing over the rooftops of his empire? Or, perhaps, the necessities of his fame and fortune had forced him to devote his life to marketing and commerce, and had dragged him reluctantly away from his true passion: the art of making kebabs. Alas, indeed, I know not.

A lot of c*nnoisseurs out today.

The anticipation was mounting as we approached the hut. It was a hot day; the sun was up. Traffic thundered by on the main road, and the dust rose. A group of three youths stood before me. Clearly one of them was an aficionado. He drooled and gibbered to his companions that this was going to be ‘der beste Döner der Welt’ – the best döner in the world. High praise indeed! But this was nothing that I had not heard before. Yes, upon revealing my profession to people in the past, I had often been asked in awed tones whether I had tried Mustafa’s on Mehringdamm. And I had always felt something of a fraud by telling them that no, I had not. ‘Oh you simply must!’ they would trill. ‘It’s the best döner in Berlin!’ Well, I was about to find out.

Drawing ever, ever nearer. Mustafa's log of glistening meat beckons out of the gloom.

The immediate downside of so much fame is that you have to wait a long time to get your gratification. I stood in that queue in front of Mustafa’s hut for more than half an hour before I got to order, with the result that I was almost doubled over bursting for a p155. But by the time I was finally summoned to approach the hallowed opening, I was pleased to see that everything looked very promising inside. There was no red cabbage on display (red cabbage in a kebab is an abomination) and the salad looked fresh and classy. There were three sauces: spicy, garlic and herb. I ordered a dürüm. It did not take long to make. The efforts of their constant dance from sauce to salad to meat had evidently taken its toll on the kebab purveyors, however. They seemed weary and glazed-over as they took my order. They had been here too long, they had seen it all before. My dürüm was handed over, but without the love that one sometimes appreciates from one’s döner seller. I bought a bottle of Berliner from the nearby Späti, and leaned on one of Mustafa’s metal Stehtische to eat my meal. ‘Well, Mustafa,’ I thought to myself as I peeled back the tinfoil foliage of my dürüm, ‘you and I have had this date with one another from the beginning!’

Mustafa's and a Berliner. Das ist so Berlin.

As I’ve said before, people every bit as qualified as me have claimed that Mustafa’s is the best döner in Berlin. Döner Fans, I hope you will forgive me, for I am about to commit an act of kebab heresy in saying that I do not think that it is. No. It was a fine meal, I’ll give you that, and I would definitely place it in the top 5 of the kebab shops I’ve tried in Berlin. And yet, and yet. Was it better than Mısır Çarşısı on Kottbusser Tor? Was it better than the Gemüse Kebab at Bilakis on Schönhauser Allee? I would say, probably not. Mustafa’s dürüm was plump and juicy, and the sauces blended well with the finely-flavoured meat and the soft and succulent vegetables from which it gets its name, and the crumbled feta and squeeze of lemon juice added a special squirt of je ne sais quoi and joie de vivre. But having waited about 35 minutes for it, and paying 4,30 EUR (which is a lot in Berlin), I was not as blown away as I had expected to be. Furthermore, I did feel something of a poser as I washed it down with my Berliner Pilsner in full view of the lengthening queue. I was left slightly with the impression that the whole thing was a harmless but veritable case of the emperor’s new clothes.

And so, Döner Fans, I will leave you with the following advice: by all means go to Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebab on Mehringdamm. Queue up and enjoy the thrill of the anticipation. Do it so you can say that you’ve been there, to prove that you’ve had the ‘authentic’ Berliner experience. Eat it, and enjoy, but do not expect to feel the earth move beneath you. And, perhaps most importantly, remember to take a tactical whizz first.

Results

Service: 3/5 (fast and efficient but not friendly)

Atmosphere: 3/5 (throbbing anticipation and an equally throbbing bladder)

Price: 2/5 (pricey for Berlin)

Taste: 4/5 (very tasty)

Photographs taken by Dr. Döner

Berlin Kebab Update – Kottbusser Tor

Greetings, Döner Fans. This is not really a proper post, just a quick update. As some of you may know, Dr Döner is on another one of his regular junkets to Berlin, just to keep an eye on things and check that kebab standards haven’t slipped. It was with a throb of glee that I alighted today at Kottbusser Tor – that well-known Mecca of meaty goodness. I made for Efi’s Deli. But alas! Alack! For Efi’s Deli is no more. It has been replaced by something called a “BurgerMeister”. And yet, importuned but unperturbed, I walked a mere five paces further and came to a welcome old favourite: Mısır Çarşısı.

And there I ordered a dürüm and an ayran. And both of them were delicious. Thus, whereas before you would have had the choice between that and Efi’s Deli, now I able to recommend only Mısır Çarşısı (Egyptian Market in English). To sum up, my brief survey of Kottbusser Tor’s kebab situation is as follows: Mısır is good, Efi’s is gone, Kottiwood is still naff. That’s all for now, Döner Fans!

Kebab Huis Baran – Hoofddorpplein

This post is originally from October 2015, and is being posted for the first time today.

Hello again Döner Fans. Are things finally starting to look up? I don’t want to speak too soon, but it seems like they just might be. On a dark, autumnal evening this week I went to pick up the keys to my new abode – a glamorous apartment in the Zuid area – meaning that my sentence in purgatory at Amsterdam’s most affordable hotel might soon be over. Dr Döner is homeless no more! And yet, as if that were not good news enough, the trek back from the new apartment to the hotel was fortuitously punctuated by a delicious culinary detour. Alighting from the number 15 bus at Hoofddorpplein, I espied the glowing sign of Kebab Huis Baran. There were several people waiting inside – surely a good sign? I barged in and, on seeing that the place seemed to specialise in lahmacun, I ordered a lahmacun with Döner meat and salad.

Kebab Huis Baran: Exterior Shot

While waiting, I noticed that the menu boasted a number of rather questionable options. What, I ask you, is the justification for a dürüm with tuna and cheese? It certainly is not a dish I have ever seen served in the kebab houses of Istanbul. I started to wonder if I had made a wise choice in visiting this place. Happily though, the döner meat was in fact on display and looked fairly fresh as it stood erect in front of its heating plate. A quick glance showed that they served only chicken in this establishment. Only one young, burly man was working behind the counter, and he was jolly and efficient as he chatted to the customers, serving up huge portions of kapsalon to the people waiting in front of me. He had a hairy beard and a pony tail and gave off an air of good-naturedness. He cheerfully exchanged pleasantries with one customer in Turkish.

Dürüm with tuna and cheese? Surely a typo!

When it came to my turn to be served, we bantered in Dutch as he asked me which toppings I wanted. At least, I think we bantered. My Dutch is still rusty, so I did not really know what he was saying. But it was all cheery enough. He handed over the lahmacun, and then – I don’t quite know why, perhaps it was the good mood I was in – I also bought an Ayran just for the sheer thrill of it. I almost never drink Ayran. But today I fancied it. Altogether, the lahmacun and the drink cost 5,50 Euros. He offered me a separate carrier bag for the Ayran. I declined. Then I hurried off to my hotel to devour it all.

Life need not be depressing at the West Side Inn. No! You can bring in food from outside.

I don’t know quite what he did to it – I didn’t see all the toppings, as I was surreptitiously trying to photograph the menu at the time – but I have to say, and I do not say this lightly, that the kebab was absolutely scrumptious. It tingled on the tongue. The lahmacun was a delightful mix of soft and oven-fired crunchy, and the meat, sauces and salad were all moist, juicy and full of flavour. I was quite surprised at just how good it all was. Even the Ayran was delicious and helped to wash it all down in an authentic fashion. The upshot of this is that I would thoroughly recommend Kebab Huis Baran to anyone lurking in the vicinity of Hoofddorpplein. It is well worth a visit. So, as I lick the sauces off my fingers, I shall sign off and wish you a good week! Until we meet again, Döner Fans, take care!

Results

Service: 5/5 (nice and jolly)

Atmosphere: 4/5 (welcoming)

Price: 3/5 (fine)

Taste: 5/5 (delicious!)

Photography provided by Dr. Döner

Döner Oostelijke Handelskade

Greetings Döner Fans. I hope this post finds you well on this wet Dutch weekend. Perhaps you have been enjoying the Amsterdam Dance Event / ADE. Perhaps you have not. Dr Döner, for instance, has had bigger fish to fry, namely the serious business of eating kebabs and finding a permanent place of residence. As it happens, I was out and about running my various errands near the Oostelijke Handelskade today in pursuit of both these goals, when a sign made out of neon yellow paper caught my wandering eyes. On it were written two of my favourite words in the English language: Döner Kebab. And it was stuck onto the side of a likely looking mobile wagon. What further encouragement did I need than this! I approached the hatch to place my order.

The irresistible siren call of the kebab

There was a man inside the wagon. A large man. A gentle giant, if you will. It had clearly been a slow day for he had his head ducked down and was reading the paper. And he seemed very pleased to see me. I ordered a dürüm from him and he cheerily set about putting it together. One pleasant surprise was the way he prepared the bread. A flat pide was placed in an oven, and a minute later it had inflated like a chapatti. He then piled on the meat, salad and sauces and wrapped it all up. It was only a hunch, but I had a feeling that it was going to be a rather good dürüm. I paid 3,75 EUR for it (a decent price in these parts) and took it back to my cave to eat it.

The wagon, viewed from the tram stop

Back in my temporary Döner HQ, I peeled back the tinfoil to reveal what looked likely to be a fine meal. And in many ways it was. The bread, which had been so interestingly prepared, lent the whole ensemble an extra layer of flavour. The meat was ok, though the salad felt as if it had been soaking in its own juices for perhaps a little too long. Still, it didn’t detract too badly from the overall taste. All in all it was a good meal. Perhaps the friendliness of the man who made it, combined with the modest price, caused me to look upon it more favourably than it deserved. But I have to say, for Amsterdam, it was very very all right. Worth a try if you’re ever passing by the Oostelijke Handelskade. That’s all for now Döner Fans! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

The kebab is opened and begins to spill its secrets

Results

Service: 4/5 (nice and jolly)

Atmosphere: 3/5 (a halo of warmth on a wet day)

Price: 3/5 (good for Amsterdam)

Taste: 3/5 (nice bread)

Photography provided by Dr. Döner

Star Gemüse Kebap Warthestraße

Guten Tag, Döner Fans! Dr Döner is back in Berlin, and all is well in the world once more. No longer must he choke down the shrivelled offerings of Amsterdam’s lacklustre Eetsalons! Even as I type this, my fingers are still moist from the inaugural kebab of this particular Berliner sojourn – my first decent, solid Berliner kebab in too long a time! Let me lay the scene. I had woken up in a comfortable apartment down a quiet street somewhere near Leinestraße in Neukölln – readers may remember it as the setting of a previous blog post. As lunch approached and duty called, I came in from the balcony and went out to hunt down the latest döner developments in the local area. It was not long before my eyes alighted on a lead. There, on a little island next to Hermannstraße, was the unmistakeable silhouette of a kebab hut. Yes indeed! It was a Gemüsedöner stand, and it had a picture of a chicken on it. I stepped onto its green plastic matting and prepared to place my order.

You can tell by the picture of the chicken that this is a place of quality

Perhaps I am overly full of myself. But it is always something of a disappointment when kebab sellers are not as pleased to see me as I am to see them. The man who was lurking inside Star Gemüse Kebap looked, as they say, as if he had just licked piss off a nettle. He spent several agonising moments slopping spicy sauce from a bucket into a serving receptacle before deigning to acknowledge my presence. He did not speak. He took my order with a look. My dürüm was prepared in silence. He spoke only to ask me what sauces I wanted (garlic and spicy). He could not have looked more bored if he tried. Maybe he did not enjoy his job. Perhaps someone had fouled on his doorstep this morning, or stolen his favourite mug. In any case, we did not share that special bond that sometimes exists between kebab-maker and kebab-eater. He handed over my dürüm. I paid my 3,30 Euros, and departed.

"Look at the size of that thing!" The kebab dwarfs the plate.

I got back to the flat, went onto the balcony, and my disappointment was instantly dispelled as I bit into my dürüm. The kebab-seller’s bored outer appearance had clearly been a skilful mask used to disguise the love with which he had crafted that kebab. It was a delicious meal – the chicken meat was succulent, the spicy and garlic sauce complemented it beautifully, and the salad was fresh. A sprinkling of feta and a squirt of lemon gave it a special zing. As I wolfed it down, I forgave the kebab-seller for his questionable service – there is no need to be a people-person when one is creating such high standards of art, Döner Fans! The moment was perfect as I sat munching on the balcony, marred only by someone hawking noisily in the street below. I reclined upon the balcony-chair. The first kebab of the Berlin tour had been devoured. Dr Döner was back in the game!

The tinfoil is unfurled to reveal the meaty interior

Results

Service: 2/5 (sour)

Atmosphere: 3/5 (fine)

Price: 4/5 (good)

Taste: 4/5 (very tasty)

Photographs by Dr. Döner